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Thread: Dating after trauma/abuse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Dating after trauma/abuse

    Hope has found its way back in; it is questioned and doubted but it has found its space within me.

    Love is a desire and has been for me for a long time. It was long removed by abuse, I am almost 10 months freed. I am in some sense isolated (small town <500), young children and on maternity leave. Online dating became choice. Asserting boundaries here has been tough. I feel worn down by the barrage of rude, insincere and what can only be described as sex focused men. I have learned a few lessons and am pausing to lick wounds.

    The abuse is a chapter I have had to accept and in some sense am still living with in regards to the custody battle and divorce that is so desperately needed. This is a chapter that will need to be known at some point. I accept that. I accept it is not pretty. It is hard. But I want this I need this I deserve this....ability to love again.

    Iím afraid once I start dabbling again that I wonít have learned enough, that Iím still too vulnerable, or the worst that Iíll be stuck on the last 6 years unable to discuss anything beyond my abuse.

    What have others experienced? How did you feel and how did you deal? I see two Counsellorís and am working through but could really use experiences of others, I need to know what is there?

  2. The following 2 users say thank you to Cinemaslayer for this useful post:

    freshair (03-11-2018),Sunfl0wer (03-08-2018)

  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    I’m afraid once I start dabbling again that I won’t have learned enough, that I’m still too vulnerable, or the worst that I’ll be stuck on the last 6 years unable to discuss anything beyond my abuse.

    What have others experienced? How did you feel and how did you deal? I see two Counsellor’s and am working through but could really use experiences of others, I need to know what is there?
    I have recently starting pseudo-dating. Meaning, I tell guys I really do want to make friends because I am shy and trying to branch out more socially. (I tell them I do not want a BF because I am still needing some “pre dating” skills. Somehow, the decent ones did not freak out at this.)
    The online dating folks generally tend to be tricky as encountering so many sex driven/agenda drive. men who are playing games or used to playing games... can feel very triggering. It is certainly a huge practice in boundaries and asserting ones self. Yet, having said that, I somehow felt comfiest going that route as I am so shy face to face and can go mute, so getting to know a person via text first really helps me ease into it. Yet, I am considering removing my online stuff and venturing to the meetup route since I am feeling a wee more confident now. I think I can manage a meet up without going mute.

    The way I approach it is my healing is my priority in life so I have a need to be “Self centered” and am not willing to compromise that by getting in a committed bf/gf relationship.

    Ok, so in therory... my thoughts are one thing.
    In practice... quite another.

    The first guy I met with I intentionally picked a guy to befriend that I saw no long term potential with. We enjoyed a few dates, then he broke it up because we hit an impass on him having stronger feelings, wanting me to commit to him... that was never what I wanted. The experience was good practice. It was slightly painful seperating, but all was ok. Definately worth the experience of enjoying hanging out... learning to get close to someone.

    The last guy I made friends with, we ended up falling in love. Long story short... I also do not regret this. I still love him, we are still friends. However, the break up did cause me to unearth lots of stuff for me. I have been feeling mentally destabilized now for weeks as a result. My T is helping me work through what pops up and coping with this loss. I get angry, or sad... and helping me be ok feeling my feelings has been challenging. It causes lots of dissociation for me. Also, my son is ill. I feel like if I had more friend support and my home life didn’t feel so stressful that it would be an overall stronger enviornment for me to be dealing with this recent decompensation I am going through.

    I guess I am saying...
    I do ot know the best direction for you.
    In my experience, it is easier/safest to learn to begin taking risks in love and life when I feel competent/strong in the other areas of my life.
    Even when I feel I may have a strategy figured out, things do not go as planned, so expect the unexpected.

    Personally, I choose to maintain Self therapy work as my priority and do not want relationships to distract from that work in any way.

    Sometimes I am seeking “love” as a distraction. Important for me to be aware of my intents...all of them. Sometimes I may enjoy an endorphin or oxytocin rush but am really escaping from other stuff in life that is less pleasant feeling. So just being aware of what my intent is ...can help me maintain the stability I have.

    Hopefully something helpful.

    Oh wait..
    I had another important thought.
    My last therapist before the one I have now did give me great advice when I asked him when I would be ready to start dating. He told me to work on making friendships with new people first. Start there. Then we would talk.

    Since at that time I was exiting a long term relationship, lost many friends due to move, lost his family and friends...etc. it was pretty fair to advise me to build up my friend network first and I assume we would work on interpersonal stuff that would come up as I did that... in a way to prepare me for dating.

    Oh...
    Another thing...
    Biggest thing I am learning in “dating” is how to listen to myself to have a better relationship with myself. Sometimes I find inner alarms going off due to a trigger of past abuse. It is such a healing thing to be able to listen to my Insides when they are telling me to pause, stop, this guy is not ok, etc. So I literally DO mostly put my Self first no matter what. This seems to be what I am practicing atm, the most. Learning to hear when inside me things feel ok. Learning to listen to those little voices that say, slow down, walk away, be firm on this, etc. So I really see this as my first job. If the guys leaves due to this... I need to be ok with that. Because the alternative... proceeding to do stuff I do not want to do, or ignoring myself to keep the peace or such... imo, is harmful to me and a form of self harm. At the same time... I feel I must ultimately 100% hold my Self accountable for all my Self care as a result of anything that occurs. (If a partner wants to be comforting...great....but it is not their “job.”). Otherwise I fear I could get into a codependent dynamic.
    Had I not created my whole world. I would certainly have died in other peopleís. ~Anias Nin

  4. The following 3 users say thank you to Sunfl0wer for this useful post:

    freshair (03-11-2018),kittenlover (03-08-2018),weepingwillow (03-12-2018)

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    4
    Thanks sunfl0wer. Itís such a process I sometimes just want it over. One step forward sometimes means 2 steps back, hard to feel like itís still forward motion.

  6. The following user says thank you to Cinemaslayer for this useful post:

    freshair (03-11-2018)

  7. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    canada
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    Hugs and prayers are good
    Hi Cinemaslayer,
    I too want love with someone... but I think there is still too much going on in terms of my healing to focus on that.
    And I feel this way because sometimes there is this great void I feel inside my chest and throat... and I know I should be enough to fill it... but when it hurts at its worse I find myself wanting to online date... and I recently joined a dating site... but I dont have any desire to give the site any information about myself.

    I know my hesitancy in using the dating site is in part because my abuser drilled into my head only loose women use dating sites, and using dating sites is something slightly frowned upon in our culture... and he is tracking my activities and to some extent I don't want him seeing me or judging me.. when I should not care. This tells me for sure my unconscious is still sorting things out.
    My feelings regarding my abuser are also, really still too intense... I taste bitterness in my mouth when I can feel anger at what he did... and a whole range of other intense sometimes (but now not as frequent) crippling emotions
    So perhaps I'm not fully ready to date.
    There have only been two men I have been genuinely attracted too since I left my abuser so I know there is hope for me. I genuinely wanted to know who they were, and not use them to fill the void in my chest. And for me that signifies a healthy attraction...
    I went out with a guy a couple weeks after I severed contact with my abuser. To be honest I was looking for a distraction, a friend. I didn't want a sexual relationship just a healthy friends with no benefits kind of relationship. He turned out to be a bigger abuser than my abuser. I made the mistake of allowing him to pick me up... This is after having seen him at couple outings and texting him on the phone. He threatened my safety in his car with his words, when we reached our destination I knew I was never getting back into his car. I found another way home. I learnt alot from that. All the little signs I had missed- like occasional rude comments that came out of his mouth and him acting like it was nothing... His trying to control what I wore, on our first and last outing, his buying me something expensive but acting like it was nothing, as a way to put himself in my good books...

    That's been my experience so far...

  8. The following user says thank you to freshair for this useful post:

    Sunfl0wer (03-11-2018)

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